Cabot Barber Paley

Obituary
  • "I knew Cabot for 80 years. The NYTmes death notice was..."
  • "To the Paley family,are deepest regards from the Cummings..."
    - Chuck Cummings
  • "Dear Sarah, Jonathan, Andrew, Brewster and Deborah, Cabot..."
    - Virginia Cantarella/Shonbrun
  • "I always looked forward to seeing Cabot at the Atrium each..."
    - Ken Levinsky
  • "Oh, I'm so sorry, Sarah! With much love."
    - Susan Wheeler

PALEY-Cabot Barber, died peacefully on February 5th. The cause of death was a stroke. Cabot was born on June 14th 1925 in Elizabeth, NJ and grew up in Cranford, NJ. Her parents, Henry Oberly Barber and Sophie Cabot Brewster Barber had three other children: an older brother Ken, an older sister Anne and a younger sister Sophie. After graduating from Cranford High School, Cabot attended Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio, where she met the love of her life, Henry David Paley. They were married on April 23, 1946. Over the next decade Cab and Hank moved their growing family from Ohio to California, to South Carolina, New Jersey, Washington D.C., Maryland and Virginia. During these years they had five children: Brewster, Deborah, Andrew, Jonathan and Sarah. In addition to raising her children, she worked alongside Hank, unionizing migrant farm and paper mill workers. In '57, Hank's union job moved from Washington to Albany, NY, and he and Cabot moved their family just north of there to the small town of Crescent, on the Mohawk River. Cabot went back to school at Russell Sage College in Troy, where she got her BA. She had a keen interest in government and politics and had been an active member of the League of Women Voters while living in Virginia. When New York State was gearing up to hold a constitutional convention in '64, Cabot ran her own campaign to serve as a delegate. Cabot taught at Shenendehowa Elementary School in Clifton Park, NY until 1967, when the family moved to Park Slope, Brooklyn. In Brooklyn she became one of the pioneer teachers at High School Redirection, in one of the toughest neighborhoods in the borough. She then attended Hunter College School of Social Work, earned a Masters in Clinical Social Work and became a therapist. In the mid 1970s Cabot and Hank moved back upstate, to Catskill. Cabot had a private practice in Catskill and also saw patients in Albany. Hank, then the president of the Commission for Independent Colleges and Universities, died suddenly on April 16, 1984 at the age of 59. In 1990 Cabot married Donald Thaler of Amagansett, NY where they lived together until 2007, when Cabot moved to Portland, ME. In addition to her five children and second husband, Cabot is survived by two stepchildren, Peter and Cathy Thaler and 12 grandchildren, Nicole, Stephanie, Zack, Violet, Sophie, Henry, Hanna, Logan, Arlyn, Eden, Mathew and David. She will be missed by her friends and family who cherished her unique sense of humor and great sense of adventure. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the New York Times Neediest Cases Fund, 800-381-0075.
Published in The New York Times on Feb. 9, 2010